You've probably seen it before: a human brain dramatically lit from the side, the camera circling it like a helicopter shot of Stonehenge, and a modulated baritone voice exalting the brain's elegant design in reverent tones.
To which this book says: Pure nonsense. In a work at once deeply learned and wonderfully accessible, the neuroscientist David Linden counters the widespread assumption that the brain is a paragon of design--and in its place gives us a compelling explanation of how the brain's serendipitous evolution has resulted in nothing short of our humanity. A guide to the strange and often illogical world of neural function, The Accidental Mind shows how the brain is not an optimized, general-purpose problem-solving machine, but rather a weird agglomeration of ad-hoc solutions that have been piled on through millions of years of evolutionary history. Moreover, Linden tells us how the constraints of evolved brain design have ultimately led to almost every transcendent human foible: our long childhoods, our extensive memory capacity, our search for love and long-term relationships, our need to create compelling narrative, and, ultimately, the universal cultural impulse to create both religious and scientific explanations. With forays into evolutionary biology, this analysis of mental function answers some of our most common questions about how we've come to be who we are.
Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109 CE), in his work Proslogion, originated the "ontological argument" for God's existence, famously arguing that "something than which nothing greater can be conceived," which he identifies with God, must actually exist, for otherwise something greater could indeed be conceived. Some commentators have claimed that although Anselm may not have been conscious of the fact, the Proslogion as well as his Reply to Gaunilo contains passages that constitute a second independent proof: a "modal ontological argument" that concerns the supposed logical necessity of God's existence. Other commentators disagree, countering that the alleged second argument does not stand on its own but presupposes the conclusion of the first.
Anselm's Other Argument stakes an original claim in this debate, and takes it further. There is a second a priori argument in Anselm (specifically in the Reply), A. D. Smith contends, but it is not the modal argument past scholars have identified. This second argument surfaces in a number of forms, though always turning on certain deep, interrelated metaphysical issues. It is this form of argument that in fact underlies several of the passages which have been misconstrued as statements of the modal argument. In a book that combines historical research with rigorous philosophical analysis, Smith discusses this argument in detail, finally defending a modification of it that is implicit in Anselm. This "other argument" bears a striking resemblance to one that Duns Scotus would later employ.
During his lifetime, Archbishop Oscar Romero chose to live the Christian Gospel in a radical way, defending, supporting, and serving the poor, and confronting the oppressive and murderous violence of the Salvadoran dictatorship. As a result, in March 1980, while celebrating Mass in a small chapel in El Salvador, he was assassinated.
With Archbishop Oscar Romero, Damian Zynda offers a compelling examination of the bishop’s eventful life. Zynda delves into the psychological and spiritual depths of Romero’s faith, tracing its progression from age thirteen up to the episcopacy and his prophetic stand against the government.
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